Retiring to Greece
Some pointers for Irish retirees
In recent years Greece has become a popular retirement destination for many Irish and Northern Europeans. Greece has a very attractive climate, with hot summers and mild winters, together with delicious food, a thriving local culture, and an abundance of historic architecture.
If you plan to retire in Greece, you will need a residence permit. As members of the EU, Irish retirees however have the right to live in Greece without getting visas or a residence permit.
Pros and cons of retiring in Greece for Irish expats
- Very good healthcare system at an affordable price.
- Attractive tax regime for Irish retirees, with 7% flat rate applying for 10 years, when agreed.
- Reduced cost of living that is significantly lower than Ireland and other Northern EU countries.
- Warm summer climate and mild winters have attracted Northern EU retirees.
- Security, low crime level.
- The Greek economy has struggled over the past decade, leading to some reductions in public services. Retirees have been less affected by Greece’s economic woes that those of working age.
- Some knowledge of the language would be beneficial but less of an issue in the cities.
- The facilities are better in the larger cities than the countryside
If you plan to live and retire in Greece, you should apply for a tax identification number.
Taxes in Greece for Irish Retirees
In July 2020, Greece launched a new initiative to attract European retirees. This initiative was tabled before the Greek Parliament and is like other retirement schemes in Portugal and Italy. This draft law states that if you move your tax residency status to Greece that you will be taxed at a flat rate of 7% on retirement Income for a minimum period of 10 years. As Ireland has a double taxation agreement in place with Greece, Irish retirees who apply for this special 7% flat tax rate will qualify for this rate the year following their year of application
To qualify for this favourable tax rate – you must not have been a Greek tax resident in the five years prior to your relocation application to Greece. You must also spend a minimum of 183 days in a year in Greece to qualify. For Irish retirees to qualify, they need only rent or buy an apartment/house in Greece.
This 7% flat tax rate applies not only to your Pension Income but also to all your foreign sourced Income and includes rental income, business income (consultancy), or dividends. This will make Greece one of the most attractive places in Europe for retirement.
When did this new Retirees tax rate come into effect in Greece?
This law has not yet been agreed by the Greek Parliament, but a favourable ruling is expected imminently.
Healthcare for Retirees in Greece
Both citizens and tax residents in Greece can get access to the public healthcare system. For Irish retirees’ and those of other EU countries private healthcare is recommended, which would offer access to more advanced facilities and shorter waiting times.
Cost of Living in Greece
Generally, the cost of living in Greece is inexpensive compared with Ireland. Excluding the cost of accommodation (rental or purchase) most retirees could live comfortably on c.€2,000 per month. The cost of living in Greece will depend on where you choose to live and your lifestyle. The Islands are more expensive than the mainland cities, whilst if you chose to live in the countryside, the cost of accommodation, food and services is lower than the cities.
Rental properties for one bed apartments in the cities are c €500-700 p.m. whilst the rural areas offer better value at c. €200-400 pm.
When should you start planning?
As soon as possible, it’s never too early to start planning and we can help you avoid some of the common mistakes, even if you don’t eventually retire abroad we can help you make your retirement dreams a reality.